Canada, U.S. Argue About MAX Stick Shaker

Transport Canada has told the FAA it wants pilots to be empowered to get rid of major distractions, including disabling the stick shaker, as part of the process of getting the Boeing 737 MAX back in service. Transport Minister Marc Garneau was in Washington, D.C. on Thursday for meetings on the MAX and while he didn’t comment directly on the stick shaker issue, he made it clear Canada was ready to go its own way on recertifying the type. “If there are certain things that we will do differently from other countries, which is a possibility, that is not excluded,” Garneau said.

In both fatal crashes involving the MAX, the stick shaker was activated by faulty sensors and added confusion to a cockpit in crisis. The stick shaker is only supposed to warn of an incipient stall but bad data from the angle of attack sensors on the Lion Air MAX that crashed in 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines plane that went down a year ago set off the captain’s side while the planes were well above stall speed. Canada’s position is that pilots should be told to shut off the circuit breaker to the stick shaker but their FAA counterparts say that could set a dangerous precedent in emergency procedures. The dispute threatens to scuttle a uniform return to service of the MAX that is considered an important expression of confidence in its safety and reliability.